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Dublin's Metrolink will only go north - south until at least 2035

The plan does not envisage the system going west of the city.

How the old Metro West looked.
How the old Metro West looked.

DUBLIN WILL NOT get an orbital metro system until at least after 2035 – because there isn’t the passenger demand.

The country’s transport bodies yesterday announced the “emerging preferred route” for the Metrolink – a combination of the former Metro North and South plans.

However, the plan does not envisage the system going west of the city, with these areas set to be serviced by electrified rail lines running Dart trains and an improved bus service.

The Metro West plan, first announced in 2005, was nixed in 2011 due to a lack of funding. In 2016 it was excluded from the Transport Strategy For The Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035 and was not included in the government capital spending plan announced last month.


The light rail line was pitched as an alternative commuter run to the M50 and would go from Tallaght to Dardistown (near Dublin Airport) through Blanchardstown with the capacity to carry 36 million passengers a year. Dardistown is pitched as a future stop on the Metrolink.

Source: RPALuasMetro/YouTube

Speaking to yesterday, Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA said that passenger demand for an orbital route just wasn’t there.

“For there to be a Metro-level service (in the west of the county), there would have to be around 15,000 passengers per direction an hour.

“At the moment, we don’t believe there is that demand. We believe that a bus service can handle that orbital movement. We looked at each corridor and the bus network corridors will mean that journey times will be reduced. The combined network of services will meet the demand of the region. If it’s beyond the next strategy in 2035, then that’s for future transport planners to examine.

“The route recognises where travel demand is coming from – the Airport and the Fingal area. That’s where the city region is growing.”

Last year, the NTA launched its ambitious BusConnects plan, which includes plans for bus corridors, new routes, rapid transit routes and cashless fare payments.

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Redesigning the bus service will involve making improvements on the number of overlapping routes, the high number of buses in the city and the poor connectivity between other areas of Dublin that aren’t the city centre.

This will be done alongside the electrification of commuter rail lines to allow Dart trains run on them. This would see new stops in Glasnevin and Cabra being built, with the Glasnevin stop linking with the Metro.

Overall, Graham is adamant the project will be built.

“I understand why people are sceptical, but the capital investment plan allows this.”

Read: GAA club could lose pitch for up to six years due to Metrolink works

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